United Nations Independent Expert on Extreme Poverty Visits Immokalee

On Wednesday, October 26, a standing room only crowd gathered at the CIW to greet the United Nations’ Independent Expert on Extreme Poverty, Dr. Arjun Sengupta, who came to Immokalee accompanied by two colleagues for a day-long visit as part of his work documenting extreme poverty in the US and challenging its causes through the UN Commission on Human Rights.

Dr. Sengupta, seated in the photo above with the gray jacket, met with CIW leaders to discuss conditions in Immokalee, one of this country’s poorest towns. The UN representatives and CIW members discussed the history of the CIW’s struggle to improve working and living conditions in Immokalee, the resurgence of modern-day slavery in the agricultural industry, and the CIW’s analysis locating the roots of those conditions in the major, multi-national corporations that buy Florida produce and use their overwhelming market power to drive prices — and wages — as low as possible.

Following the meeting, Immokalee residents still reeling from the effects of Hurricane Wilma — which slammed into Immokalee only two days earlier — lined up outside CIW headquarters to receive water, ice, and food provided by FEMA and the National Guard.

As it did all week following the devastating hurricane, the CIW provided crucial leadership in getting emergency supplies to the worst-hit of Immokalee’s residents, the farmworker community.